'The Case Of: JonBenét Ramsey' pins her death on her brother Burke
A team of investigators, who assembled for the two-part CBS docu-series The Case Of: JonBenét Ramsey, believes the beauty queen's brother is responsible for her death in December of 1996.
With retired FBI profiler Jim Clemente and criminal behavioral analyst Laura Richards at the helm, the team reexamined evidence from the nearly two-decade old case which seemed to indicate JonBenét was killed by someone in her immediate family.
The team dissected a lengthy three-page ransom note that they said contained an extremely extraneous amount of words, not common of ransom notes since speed and brevity are usually key. It was also written on stationery and with a pen found in the home.
Using sound reduction, Clemente and Richards believed they could identify three voices from the 911 call Patsy made after she thought she'd hung up the phone. The investigators thought they heard John, Patsy, and Burke Ramsey who was 9 at the time and said to be asleep.
"We're not speaking to you," the team believed John said with Patsy possibly saying, "What did you do?" The pair also thought they heard Burke say, "What did you find?"
For the investigation, a life-size replica of the Ramsey house was built. Using the model, they explored the intruder theory which they ultimately felt did not hold up.
They also concluded that the foreign DNA found on JonBenét's clothing, which led people to believe the Ramseys were innocent, could've been transferred in the manufacturing process.
Clemente and Richards also talked to a former member of the Boulder Police Department, Gretchen Smith, who believes that Boulder's former District Attorney, Alex Hunter, didn't want to prosecute the Ramseys because of their clout.
"The parents of the child, they have money," Smith said. "The District Attorney's office and some of administration did not want to hear that an affluent member of the community was guilty of a crime like this ... I don't think they wanted to solve this crime, and if they had to go down a different path that might not have been the truth, I think they were willing to do that."
Clemente and Richards also chatted with Steve Thomas, a former Boulder Police co-lead investigator, who stated in his resignation letter that, "Attempts to gather evidence were met with refusals and instead it was suggested that we ask for permission from the Ramseys before proceeding."
Thomas believes Patsy wrote the ransom note, and said Hunter was extremely uncooperative. Despite a grand jury voting to indict John and Patsy, Hunter said he did not have enough evidence to prosecute the Ramseys. Hunter also did not comply to be interviewed for the docu-series, because he said it would be too difficult to do without getting into grand jury information which he cannot discuss.
So who in the home could've committed the crime? John was the one who found his daughter's body and then moved it upstairs, compromising the crime scene and the forensic evidence. But was he a key component of his daughter's death or the cover-up?
In a video-taped interview administered by a child interview specialist, Burke was playful and light-hearted though the timestamp indicates it is Jan. 8, approximately two weeks after his sister was killed. He had no concern about his security and told the specialist, "I'm basically just going on with my life."
But does that mean he's a murderer? A family photographer said that Burke had a temper and once hit JonBenét in the face with a golf club. Burke admitted in a subsequent interview that even though he heard his mom going "psycho" he didn't feel the need to get out bed to see what was wrong. Also, the team believed a piece of a toy train track, like the ones found in Burke's room, could've caused an injury on JonBenét's back.
The investigators surmise that JonBenét made her brother mad — perhaps by stealing a piece of pineapple he was snacking on. Then, in retaliation, Burke hit her on the head with a flashlight. Some members of the team did not think he had an intent to kill, but believed John and Patsy had an intent to mislead and cover up.
"I think in the end this was about two parents (who) deeply cared for the daughter they lost," Clemente said, "and wanted to protect the child they had remaining."
On a recent episode of Dr. Phil, Burke said he stayed in his room because he likes to avoid conflict and is "not the worried type." He also said the handwriting on the ransom not was "too sloppy" to be his mother's, who pushed him to take pride in his penmanship.